Builders dealing with COVID ‘hangover,’ says NAHB president

By Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy | USA TODAY

By many accounts, we are still in a seller’s market.

Home prices continue to rise in nearly all of the U.S. even as mortgage rates climb ever higher. Inventory levels – typically used by housing economists to gauge whether the market is favoring buyers or sellers – place the country squarely in a seller’s market.

But even with a mere 3.3 months’ supply of housing – about 5 to 6 months is considered balanced – homebuilders are struggling to sell homes. Builder sentiment fell for the ninth straight month in September, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released Monday.

While inventory levels are low, the shortage is most acutely felt at the lower end of the price spectrum. Starter homes or entry-level homes – the most in-demand segment – are not being built at adequate levels.

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